By Maya Eva Gunst Rudolph
Assembly line workers at Foxconn manufacturing facility subcontracted to Apple (photo: Kotaku)
A man, a plan, an empire: the death of a CEO can signify so much. Honorific accounts of the late Steve Jobs have been in no short supply since the Wizard of Apple’s passing last week. A tech developer and designer of the highest order, Job’s passing leaves a legacy of stunning innovation amid a complex corporate structure and a few harder-edged questions about what it truly means to change the world.
Among the litany of Jobs tributes, it might have been easy to miss Mike Daisey’s critical appraisal of Jobs’ legacy in The New York Times. While acknowledging Jobs as a genius possessed of a “brutal honesty,” Daisey addresses the often-overshadowed underpinning of the Apple operation, such as the crowds of young Chinese migrants whose tireless, anonymous work built iPhones and MacBooks in factories throughout southern China. Referencing the 2010 spike in suicides at Shenzhen’s Foxconn factory, a manufacturer of popular products by Apple, Dell, and Sony, Daisey addresses Apple’s recent history in the now infamous manufacturing region: